The Texas Weiner Tour of Aught-Eight, Part the First

This anthropomorphic hot dog is wearing chaps and asking for “one all the way.” Just be glad I didn’t take pictures of the BDSM-themed cups.

  • Total number of hot dogs consumed: 8
  • Total cups of birch and/or root beer consumed: 3
  • Total number of weiner-related “jokes” made by Brian and his brother: 10 hundred thousand million
  • Total number of times they made me want to stab myself in the ear with a plastic butter knife: 10 hundred thousand million and one
  • Knowing that I brought it all upon myself: Priceless

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Cheap Ass Monday: Going All Derrida On Your Behind

It warmed my heart to see all you Aqua Teen fans. It’s too bad the Wolfen is going to come for you with his razor.

This odd transitional season – one-half Indian summer, one-quarter early autumn, one-quarter what the fuck is going on make up your damn mind – calls for an odd transitional dish. Chicken parm was sounding tasty but a bit too heavy, and I didn’t want to have to turn the oven on.

Instead, I bring you deconstructed chicken parm: pan-seared chicken breasts, tomatoes with lime and cumin seed, and pan-fried smoked mozzarella. Or as I like to call it, Heidigger’s Chicken. It’s like Schrödinger’s cat, but instead of a possibly dead cat locked in a box, there’s fried cheese.

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Yeast Unleashed in the East

The Moon has one-third less gravity than your Earth. I don’t know if you can understand that, but our vertical leap is beyond all measurement.

Although the weather has still been largely gorgeous this week, there’s been a slight dip in temperatures that heralds the beginning of fall. The brisker evenings prompted an urge to do something warm and homey, like bake bread. I’m slowly overcoming my fear of yeast, and want to start trying different styles of yeast dough.

Of course, after I decided to do that and got to work the temperature abruptly shot into the 80s, and today is hovering in the low 90s. Fucking weather. Still, it didn’t stop me from making and devouring these cinnamon-cardamom brioche rolls with a delicate orange glaze.

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Several people came really, really close to guessing the last Frig?, but I’ve gotta give it to eagle-eyed reader Gwynne who hit the nail on the head with her precise answer (and explanation). “Dragon fruit and grape steeped in rice vinegar. It’s drunk diluted in water for beauty and/or health reasons.” Who knew? You do, now.

(All the potato people: Really? Were we looking at the same picture?)

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Thursday Night Smackdown: A bit of okay, gov'nor.

Quoth Brian’s mom, as we finished dinner: “This goes on my list of OK.” Which I promise is not the damnation via faint praise it sounds like.

Since I crapped out on my own foodie event by failing to smack anything down while in North Carolina last week, I thought we’d make up for it this week (and capitalize on the lovely weather we’re having right now) by turning to the grill.

We have a copy of Bobby Flay’s Boy Meets Grill, acquired Soup Bible-style from a Barnes and Noble discount endcap. Mock Bobby Flay all you want – lord knows I do; that man is a toolbox if ever there was one – but he sure knows how to Tex-Mex-Mesa-Grillify any ingredient around and do it well.* We decided to go with lamb tacos with tomato-mint relish, which seemed like a fun take on a very stodgy and traditional pairing, and a side of tarragon-lime corn niblets.**

*Exhibit A: Every episode of Iron Chef America EVER PRODUCED.

**Niblet. Hee.

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The frig? It's kinda pretty, but…what is it?

A Frig? need not be vomit-worthy to be confusing. Take this jar of something or other. It’s pink, it’s somewhat attractive, but what the hell is it? Why are these items sealed together in a jar? I read the accompanying text and I’m still not sure.

Totally unrelated: This Friday is the TNS Northern New Jersey Hot Dog Tour. If you’re from the area and have a favorite Texas Wiener, let me know in the comments. Ditto if you’re interested in joining the Tour; there will be hot dogs, chili, onion rings and scoring forms. Questionable meat products AND bureaucracy, it’s like the best of all possible worlds!

Returning to topic: The Frig?

Image from Irene She LifeBook

Cheap Ass Monday: The garlic mayo goes BLAT.

You are totally jealous of my sandwich, admit it.

Ryan, my haircut-needing nephew, is picking up lots of culinary-speak during his tenure at The Left Bank. No longer do we “fry that shit up in a pan” or “nuke the hell out of” anything; we use proper classical Fronsh terminology. For example, when microwaving the Velveeta with the Ro-Tel, I would instruct him to “nukez l’enfer hors de ce produit que reseembler á fromage mais non est fromage.”* The word of the week is “confit” and it’s relation, “confiture,” which has replaced the more familiar but less cheffly-sounding “jam” in his lexicon, even when he’s referring to actual jam. Sorry, “grape confiture”.

Two can jouer á cette jeu,** my large-headed friend. Which is why instead of a plain old BLT, I give you a BLAT – bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato – with homemade garlic confit mayo. Suckez sur ça!***

*”Nuke the hell out of that product that resembles cheese yet is not cheese.”

**“Two can play at this game.”

***“Suck on that!”

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The Dodge & Graham Horse and Pony Jamboree: Epilogue

Thank god, someone made actual dinner.

The Horse and Pony Jamboree was a hell of a lot of fun to watch, but, as you may have gleaned, there was not a lot of finished food produced.

It fell to the old guard to produce actual, nourishing food that would keep us sated for more than 15 minutes.  You see, the whole day had been hyped as a showdown of new vs. old school: new school being anyone born in 1977 or after who first learned to cook in the current decade (everyone but my brother-in-law Peter), old school being anyone who learned to cook before 1990 (Peter).

Old school might not be as heavy on the yo momma jokes or willingness to cook with non-traditional ingredients like skittles, but it did manage to create one thing that new school, despite all its theatrics, could not: Dinner.

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